Independence was something I was always going to vote for, but I wasn’t fired up by the prospect ; realising that I would probably be backing a loser and the people of Scotland would act out their “canny” stereotype and bottle it. But with 9 days to go the Yes camp took a lead in the polls and I started to believe.
However it wasn’t the poll lead that really got me going, rather it was the reaction of the establishment to that lead, which got me annoyed. The bullying by the banks, big-business, the Bullingdon Boys, the Billy Boys, and Betty [HMTQ] really got right up my nose.
I was disgusted by the sight of the senior figures in the UK Labour party, a party I once supported, aided by a gang of big-business backed unionists and their apologists in the media, bully and threaten the most vulnerable in our society – the needy and the sick – with tales of dire consequences to the very fabric of our society unless they voted to keep the union.
This alarmist message was broadcasted, loud and clear, by all daily and Sunday newspapers (bar 1) and all television and radio stations in unison. Someone said it was like being in an echo chamber as there was only one message, that of doom and gloom, reverberating from all media outlets.
Now I knew that these threats to Scots of not being able to claim their state pension or receive hospital treatment and being at the mercy of a foreign invader were just so much propaganda, but I also know for a fact, that some/many of my peers believed it and were in fear of these dire consequences should the country reject Better Together.
This Orwellian scenario annoyed me so much that I decided to nail my colours to the mast and make a Yes banner to fly proudly over the Dunfermline skyline as two-fingers up to the unionist scare-mongers.
This was not a new idea as I had, during online banter via Twitter and some Celtic blogs, advertised my willingness to allow my balcony (in a prominent position on the east end Dunfermline skyline) to be used by someone/anyone who had a large Yes banner.
When no one responded to my offer I had let it ride, content that I had done my bit by offering, but now in my state of high dudgeon I threw myself into DIY action.
The material I bought for the banner was white decorator’s 3M x 4M cover-sheet, on which I marked out the three letters before painting them in a nice shade of Bermuda Blue.
I am very impulsive by nature and this leads to problems with me acting without thinking things through and this project was no different as the prominent position I thought I had in my house on the hill just wasn’t high enough to show the banner to full effect, so I had to build a frame on the balcony to take the banner up another 1.5 M.
Anyway the Tuesday before the referendum saw the banner proudly displayed over the skyline of the Auld Grey Toun. This gave me a real sense of satisfaction, something that may seem childish to those who were not in Scotland at this time, but the mood of the country at grass-roots level and in social media was very bright, vibrant and very much pro-Indy in stark contrast to the mainstream media’s dour warnings.
The, mostly young, smiling, enthusiastic Yes campaigners had given my old heart a lift and being totally caught up in this zeitgeist I also figured that the pollsters and the bookmakers had misjudged the mood of the country and had not reckoned for the mostly young Yes activists in the 90% of the population who were registered to vote, but who were not likely to take part in surveys.
I am not a gambling man and regularly deliver sermons to my son, who is fond of a punt, about there only being one winner; the bookmaker, but ignoring my own advice on the eve of the election I set off to the nearest bookmakers and place a £50 bet on Yes to carry the day.
The rest as they say is history.
I didn’t stay up to watch the results coming in as it was clear that from the first exit poll and the confidence of the polling organisations the result was a foregone conclusion.
The next day with the vote in the bag, we saw the ugly side of the Better Together alliance come to the fore, when Unionist/Orange Order/ BNP thugs took over Glasgow’s George Square and violently proclaimed their triumph in the poll.
The only thing I can say about the whole debacle is that the thugs in George Square were honest with their bile, we know what to expect from this rabble, we see them in Scotland every time there is an Orange Walk, but as to the others who joined them in an unholy alliance, they have their consciences to examine.
So what of those, mostly from a Labour background, who bullied the vulnerable at every opportunity and told them that we Scots weren’t good enough to run our own affairs and then joined their Tory and Liberal chums in grandiose promises of cake tomorrow?
They knew the promises of Devo-Max, guaranteed by Dave were a cop-out to swing the polls their way and will come to naught, and when they do the electorate will remember Labour’s part in this squalid affair.
Labour in Scotland will also have to bear responsibility for the fact that by the end of this week their party in Westminster will go to war for Queen and country once again in Iraq and who knows where else in the Middle-East. What George Carlin called “bombing brown people” LINK which our Better Together bombers are very experienced in.
Meanwhile the young and old, like me, who were caught up in the passion and hope that an independent Scotland promised have not gone away, rather the opposite. There is no despondency, no referendum defeat hangover, but instead the groundswell of activism has continued rather than abated and many are now joining the political parties who fought for independence and challenging the many instances of voting irregularities (largely ignored by mainstream media) that occurred during the polls.
Going by the behaviour<sic> of the mainstream media pre-election I shudder to think of the coverage the anomalies caught on camera (all in favour of NO) would have caused had Yes won the referendum. I can just about imagine the bulging eyes of Nick Robinson widen and his face redden until it exploded like a burst tomato if this were the case!
I don’t expect anything to come of the various petitions about BBC bias and voting irregularities but it is encouraging to see that several hundred thousand have taken the trouble to put their names to them.
What now for me? At 69 and fast approaching my three score years and ten should I bin the banner and put my feet up?
No, I rather enjoyed the buzz of excitement that the hope of real change brought, so I will carefully fold the banner and put it in the loft till the next time, which might not be too far off!
2nd Anniversary update, 18/09/2016
Looking back on my reflections two years ago I am not in the least despondent and in fact the next referendum can’t come too soon for me and while I was alone in my immediate family in demonstrating my support for independence I am now joined by my granddaughter who is keen to see the next referendum on independence so that she can actively campaign for the YES vote!
Bring it on!